Saturday, 11 January 2014

A sneak peek at my stupid wardrobe

So I've been going through a 'I have nothing to wear to work' patch over the past month or so. I do find that the weather in England changes so much that I kind of need to change my outfits every six weeks or so. New Zealand had a lot less seasonal variation. It's not quite the dead of winter now, but it had changed enough since autumn that it was time for a re-think.

 I got inspired this morning and pulled out all my work clothes. This is all my work 'bottoms' i.e. skirts and trousers. As you can see, it's a stupid collection - basically nothing in the way of neutrals and only two pairs of trousers.

I did have a pair of black jacquard trousers which recently wore out that I haven't yet replaced. I also recently got rid of a pair of grey trousers that were a bit big and very frumpy. I have just put that fuchsia-coloured satin skirt in the charity shop bag as it's too short and just not the right style for anything.

I took a close up so you can see these trousers are cobalt blue and black pattern. I really like them and they fit well.

My other favourites out of this lot are the two wool mini skirts (red and purple) from M & S. They're just above the knee on me, warm and flattering. I wear them all the time for work and also a bit of casual going out or weekends.
 So, then I added in all my tops that were warm enough to be worn as stand alone pieces (i.e. not t shirts or tops that are just worn as under-layers).

As you can see, I've got a lot of blue and blue-green/ jade colours. I've also got even more black tops than I show here (which makes sense with all those colourful bottoms).

The pale pink wool cardigan is clearly a bit of a wardrobe orphan. I need to get some bottoms to go with it. I do have a nice plum coloured dress with a beige pattern that goes nicely with the pink cardie.

Here are all the clothes with helpful accessories. The pastel coloured necklace makes the pale pink cardigan more modern. I also got a blue/grey/mauve statement necklace which I should make use of with my blue and pale coloured tops. The patterned velvet scarf you can just see with the blue stuff is brilliant as it has mauve and red it in on a black base so it goes with lots of my clothes.
Through this exercise, I realised that my floral patterned Polish scarf would go very nicely with my red skirt and white jumper.

Unfortunately the bright red scarf and belt clash nastily with the deeper red skirt. I either need to buy a new scarf or just wear the scarf and belt as a pop over a neutral outfit. 
I've had those dark turquoise shoes for ages and haven't worn them much as a) the colour is tricky to style and b) they're half a size too tight. Still, seeing them there makes me think I should make some more use of them. They are a really cute 1940's design.

So, after this helpful exercise, it becomes clear that I need just a few things to make my work wardrobe work.
  • At least one grey top nice enough to wear on its own but suitable for layering under my pale grey cashmere cardigan. 
  • At least one or two more work dresses - knee length, comfy, with sleeves, machine washable. 
  • Bottoms to go with the pale pink cardigan - a tweedy greyish skirt? a pair of grey trousers that somehow aren't too boring?
My challenge is that I have two workplaces with quite different requirements.

Workplace one:
- Need shoes suitable for walking 20 minutes to work and back (mainly my knee high riding boots in winter which don't work with some trousers)
- More casual environment with potential for getting a bit dirty
- Cold and possibly wet on the way to work, medium temperature in the office

Workplace two:
- Driving and sitting so I can wear heels
- Often roastingly hot during winter as the heating is on so high
- Can be cold in meeting rooms and if I got out for a walk at lunch
- More formal environment

Anyway, if you haven't done this exercise, I do recommend it. I found it enlightening.  After today I've cleared out a bag of things that just weren't working and I've now got a shopping list. I'll let you know how I get on.


  1. The two workplaces is a challenging situation. I think you've approached this both logically AND creatively. It sounds like you need a couple of neutral "bridge" pieces.

    1. Yup, I'm on a hunt for non-boring neutrals... wish me luck!

  2. Yes, you do need those neutral options. Also, you might want to 'retire' the pale pink cardi rather than buy things to go with it; if you have never loved grey, you won't now. (A tweed that would pair with those blues and greens seems much more pleasurable to me.) Shoes a half size too small will never feel right; perhaps you can get them stretched by a good cobbler.

    1. Duchesse, you are wise, but I just can't bring myself to get rid of the shoes. I know in my head that too tight shoes are a bad thing, but my heart says 'they're cute and they were expensive!'.

      Also, I do love grey, but tweedy stuff is cool too!


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